Mobile Moans - The Logos Of The Mobile Industry


Do you design logos? If you do, you will understand the importance of looking around at what other companies are doing in regards to their brand identities. A true designer will always spend a lot of time comparing, reviewing and familiarizing himself with logo design trends so that his work stays fresh and his creativity is fuelled by practical useful and exciting ideas. In this article we focus on a very young industry with little design heritage to see how these companies portray themselves and try and find out why.

Bit Of Intro Blurb

The mobile (or "Cell" for those in US!) phone industry is a fast growing and competitive market place. Consisting of network providers and product manufacturers it is one of the most exciting and profitable markets around. We all want mobiles, we all seem to need them in today's modern life. The statistics are amazing, with over 80% of people using mobiles in the world. In the UK it has been reported that there are more mobiles than people! These are unbelievable statistics considering the fact that before the 1990’s you couldn't fit a mobile in your pocket and needed a few harnessed elephants to transport it around!

The future "looks bright" with manufacturers trying to get internet ready mobiles and 3G (third generation using video) technology into our pockets. After this there is the potential to improve voice recognition and satellite navigation features. Now apple has entered the market with a software focused phone and upped the competition, more innovation looks set to follow. This industry looks solid with demand and productivity walking hand in hand.

In this article we hope to take an overall look at the branding of some of the companies involved in this market. Bearing in mind that most do not have a heritage past 1990 (although there are exceptions) and have to appeal to a vast global audience this article hopes to peal back some layers and see if these industry leading companies can teach us a thing or two about branding. What do these following logos actually say about the companies behind them:

mobile phone logos

No Product References

One of the first things to notice is that we see no images depicting anything literal. I often come across clients who wish to have a very literal link between their products and their logo. You could say that the most obvious thing to do when sitting down to design a logo for a mobile phone manufacturer, would be to include and image of a mobile phone. That would be great, albeit lacking in creativity, if the mobile industry wasn't as fast changing as it is now. The shape of the mobiles today will probably not be the shape of a mobile in 5 years time so to depict a product would probably be a bad idea. This mistake can easily be made and the principle can carry through to many product manufacturers and retailers.

Text Based

One thing you will notice is that most of these logos are all text based, using typography and font to communicate their brand image. In today's logo infested era, fonts and typography are getting more and more important, (may I even suggest more important than a logos "mark"?) and this is more so the case if a logo is relying only on text to create a personality.

Colours

A way in which these companies distinguish themselves from each other is by using colour. It seems there are no rules in this regard. From T-Mobiles rather brash magenta, to Oranges orange, to Motorola's black the market is open and very widely appealing colours have been used.

3D

Vodafone, Sony Eriksson, 3 and a few others, have 3D elements in their logos. It is an interesting fact that because of improvements in printing technology, gradient logos are now easily achievable working across both print and screen media. Since all of these logos have been designed in the last few years, could this be an indication of the way we are going to be perceiving logos and brand identities. Also could we suggest that animated logos might also be a part of branding projects as well – these 3d logos are animated on the screens of the devices that use them so I think we can so we will ;-)

Wide Audience Appeal

All of the above leads us to see that the companies in this industry are aiming themselves at the widest possible audience. These logos are very “safe†and carry across global cultures and nationalities without causing offense. It is always an important thing to consider when marketing globally, what different cultures will think of your brand. The wrong translation of phrases and the wrong perception of an image can really damage potential growth in a new country, offending, upsetting and enraging viewers. It would be interesting to see what would happen if a company emerged with a specific audience in mind, say at teenagers from the age of 13-16, whose branding and products were specific to that demographic. Splitting the focus into niche markets might prove profitable instead of using the scatter gun strategy and hoping that a wide audience will happily purchase products. Anybody got any vies on this? Add a comment below...

Conclusion

So to conclude these brief considerations then we feel this young industry is showing the way in regards to 3D logos, but is lacking in the creativity of marks and iconic identity. The reason for this is the fact that companies are appealing to a world wide audience of all ages and so seem to be locked into using this "safe" option, relying on advertising to promote their brand and product personalities.

Do you think this works dear reader? If there was a company directing all its assets a you, would that make you think before purchasing a mobile? Do you feel this open branding is useful or does it limit a company? Discuss...

Comments

Interesting comments on these logos. I think it's mostly on the money, but I do wonder about logos that utilize a "3D" effect with gradients and/or soft shading. Sure, modern printing technology allows it, and the devices that display on screen can show them animated and "glowy" but I think other design techniques (color contrast, or posterized shading styles) will soon show this approach to be automatically dating itself.

Logos do best when they are a faster "read", and flat colors are the best way to do that.